deaf swimmer
Emily Massengale competes against international competition

Phoebe Duval – Special to Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL)- “When I competed at the Deaflympics, the best part of the whole meet was not the competition, it was meeting other people just like me.”

Emily Massengale, a LRHS junior, lost her hearing after turning one-year-old.

She has been swimming her whole life but joined a competitive swim team at age 10. As a 10-year-old Massengale had no idea how far swimming would take her.

Massengale went to the Deaflympics in Samsun, Turkey from July 20-26, where she was competed for the United States deaf swim team. She swam seven individual events and some relays. She placed in the top eight in most of her events and medaled bronze in the 200 backstroke and 400 Individual Medley (IM).

Massengale stated, “Nothing can stop you, no matter what your situation is. I have no hearing, it didn’t stop me.”

Cochlear implants allow Massengale to hear. The cochlear implant magnetically attaches to her head, but she can’t wear them in the water.

“People who have hearing aids can hear a little bit, but people with cochlear implants, like me, can’t hear at all,” explained Massengale.

Being deaf posed challenges for Massengale when she was trying to find a sport that would work well for her. Swimming was a good option for Massengale because she can lip read and her coaches write out the sets on a whiteboard.

“I think I would be a completely different person if I wasn’t deaf. I’m not even sure I would be swimming. If I could take my hearing back, I wouldn’t.”

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